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This World-Famous Destination Will Soon Cost $200 Just to Enter

Inflation is pushing up prices across the board, even in one of the world’s most pristine natural destinations.

While it may be demoralizing to get fewer Froot Loops despite a higher grocery bill, there are still some things for which higher fees may actually be worth paying in the long run.

In this case, it’s an ecosystem that’s untouched by development and rigorously defended from the recklessness of humanity. 

There’s no need to explain the deep historic and natural vitality of the archipelago located about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. The famed importance of the Galápagos Islands is the reason you go.

As of August 1, the entry fee to Galápagos National Park, which governs the islands, will double for most visitors. For international tourists who are not from South America, the entry fee for adults doubles from US$100 to $200. Kids under 12 will pay $100.

That may sound like some extreme inflation, but we’re actually cool with it. The fee, which covers a tourist’s entire stay, had remained unchanged since 1998. Raising the price every 26 years doesn’t seem too greedy, particularly when you consider that the entry fee to the Masai Mara, a famous national reserve in Kenya, is about to rise to $200 per day

The Galápagos fee will go from US$50 to $100 for residents of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. For Ecuadorians, the price will rise from US$6 to $30 per person.

Cruise ship passengers are also subject to the entry tax. It’s usually folded into charges levied by the cruise lines.

Only about 5,000 visitors are allowed into the islands at the same time.

On my first trip to the Galápagos, in 2002, I was instructed to take great pains to pay the then-$100 entry fee in crisp $20 bills because credit cards weren’t accepted and money that was even slightly dog-eared ran the risk of being refused. Those quirks haven’t changed—only the amount is about to.

But are the Galápagos Islands worth the fee? That’s an unqualified yes. Every traveler should try to see them at least once.

To get a sense of why the place is so wonderful, check out our feature on the best Galápagos Islands to visit.

For more information about entry requirements, consult the national park’s official webpage about its tributo de ingreso. (As of this writing, the old set of fees was still posted there; the new fees will take effect August 1, 2024.)